WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 9

Workshop, hand tools and workbench all come together to create an environment conducive to woodworking. A peaceful, serene area in

which we can unleash our creativity and develop hand to eye skills.

MAKER SKILLS

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If you do not possess the required skills and expertise to be a furniture maker, study woodworking through a community college or woodworking school. Alternatively, apprentice with a knowledgeable woodworker, either as their assistant or in a mentor and student relationship. Many furniture makers are self-taught and progress from basic to advanced woodworking skills by creating piece after piece and studying existing woodworking principles. The process of teaching yourself these skills and techniques can be lengthy. If self-taught, no one can correct your mistakes or provide you guidance, although this approach is possible.

Early in my woodworking career, I struggled with some techniques, then followed a cabinetmaking program and returned to continue my woodworking. This progression resulted in better quality products and a much better understanding of woodworking. A few years later, I attended a fine furniture making school, the equivalent of following a master’s program in woodworking. Classes were intense and woodworking occupied the whole day.

My woodworking skills dramatically increased after completing a series of classes. The takeaway is that you should not be averse to a formal education in woodworking. A large part of being a furniture maker involves marketing yourself. Exposure is critical to becoming a successful furniture maker. Advertising your business begins locally by handing out business cards at every opportunity. In the name of exposure, investigate opportunities where high-end crafts and furniture are exhibited.

Submit your best furniture pieces in an exhibition call for entry. Exposure gained from exhibitions and media is priceless to a furniture maker. Receiving awards at craft and furniture exhibitions validates you as an accomplished furniture maker. Media exposure is invaluable to getting the word out that you are a capable and skilled furniture maker. Following an exhibition, there is often an exhibition article written describing the entries and those that stand out are covered in depth.